Top tips for your teacher training interview

Whether you’ve applied for teacher training that’s university-led or school-led, at undergraduate or postgraduate level, in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales, the chances are you’ll need to attend an interview as the last stage of the application process. If you’ve got this far congratulations! But, don't fall at the last hurdle.

  • Follow our top tips for your teacher training interview to help get you over the finish line.

1. Prepare

Proper preparation prevents poor performance! If you’re planning on turning up to your teacher training interview without preparing you haven’t got a cat in hell’s chance of getting onto the course. Teaching is a seriously demanding profession. True to form, the interview will reflect that fact – so preparation is going to be key.

2. Tailor your preparation

Whether its school-led or university-led training you’re applying for, keep in mind that each and every institution is different. Do your research on each and look out for subtle differences in their tone and ethos. Do you fit with that ethos? How can you get this across in interview?

3. Think of the qualities you’ll bring to teaching but don’t second guess the questions

It’s natural to have a think about the questions you’re likely to be asked and begin to formulate your answers but we advise you don’t stick to this strategy too strictly. What if they don’t ask you any of the questions you’ve prepared for? Instead make a list of the qualities you’ll bring to teaching, the insights you’ve gleamed from your experience in schools, and try to think how these can be applied to a range of different questions.

4. Read around the education sector

Keep up-to-date with all the latest in education news, the issues facing the sector, and what practices teachers are using today. TES and the Guardian Education are great places for all this and resources all teachers are familiar with. When it comes to the actual interview, look for opportunities to communicate your knowledge of the sector and make sure that research doesn’t go to waste.

5. Convey passion for your subject

How are you going to inspire the next generation if you’re not even passionate about your subject? That’s certainly what the interview panel will be asking if you fail to convey your very own passion for your subject. Think of why you want to teach this subject and why is it important?

6. Don’t forget about your other life experiences

Perhaps you’ve got experience of managing people, working within a team, communicating across departments, or you’ve spent time with people from a range of backgrounds. It’s all relevant so if you see the opportunity to talk about experiences aside from teaching, why not talk about them? Just remember to make the link back to teaching explicit – how will that experience help you as a teacher? Teaching really is a moveable feast so your interview panel will be looking to admit all sorts of people with all sorts of skills.

7. Be prepared for more than just the formal interview

Your invitation to interview will detail exactly what else you can expect to be doing on the day but it’s fairly standard procedure these days for there to be more than simply answering interview questions.

Group exercises designed to test your communication, teamwork, and perhaps even leadership skills are commonplace.

You may be asked to prepare a short presentation where you’ll be assessed on your ability to engage an audience.

If the selection day is taking place in a school you’ll almost certainly be asked to complete an exercise with a group of children, whether that be teaching a part of a lesson or otherwise. Don’t worry. The selection panel aren’t expecting you to be polished teachers already, but they will be looking for thoughtful and thorough preparation as well some evidence of the ability to develop rapport with a group of children.

8. Get the basics right

And finally – get the basics right! Get a good night’s sleep, be punctual, dress smartly but comfortably, check your body language, and speak clearly. Good luck!